Jürgen Klopp heralded a textbook away performance from his Liverpool side after they claimed a 2-0 victory over Southampton to move back up to third in the Premier League on Sunday.

Roberto Firmino put the Reds into the lead after just six minutes on the south coast when he swept home Mohamed Salah’s lay-off at the conclusion of a speedy counter-attack following a Saints corner.

The home team threatened an equaliser with a spell of sustained pressure, but Loris Karius pulled off a handful of saves to ensure the visitors’ lead remained intact.

And just before half-time, Firmino and Salah reversed roles as the Brazilian magnificently teed up his fellow forward with a sublime backheel to allow the No.11 to turn in his 29th goal of the season so far.

A tight second half followed, but the away side enjoyed success in keeping their opponents at arm’s length throughout, much to the delight of the manager.

Read on for a summary of Klopp’s post-match press conference at St Mary’s.

Watch: Extended highlights of the win

On his verdict on Liverpool’s performance and the result…

I think not brilliant but we were ready for hard work, doing the right things in the right moment, reacting in a good way in the second half. There were a few things we didn’t do too well in the first half, but we scored fantastic goals – that’s how an away game should be. They were two great goals, to be honest, but we were not in a few situations active enough in our formation, it meant they could play the diagonal balls pretty easy from the centre-halves and full-backs. Then on the other side, our full-back, we left them alone in situations not only after crosses but before the crosses already, so we needed the goalkeeper – but no problem, that’s why he is there. He did fantastic in these moments. They had their chances in these situations, they had possession and played good football. Then, second half, we controlled the game, really. We were much more active again in these half-spaces and still created fantastic chances which we didn’t use, but after 2-0 it wasn’t a big problem.

On the race for a top-four finish…

The only thing we can do is win our games. A few times we will meet one of the big opponents, but not too often. You have a draw like Tottenham, you think, ‘OK, like before’ but the only thing you can do is to win your games. It will stay tight until the end. I am pretty sure the quality of the teams is too big. The interesting thing is in the last few years since I am in, in the middle end of the season a few teams had already reached their targets – to stay in the league or whatever – but I don’t think apart from Leicester and Burnley and maybe Bournemouth this morning is already fixed, so they will make the final part of the season really interesting for all the people who are not directly involved.

On Karius’ performance…

I think the whole Southampton team is really good. Second half, they didn’t create chances and we defended really well, but in the first half they had two. But Loris was there and I was really happy about that. Obviously as a Liverpool ‘keeper you need special moments to convince the people and there were at least two of them – and with the first pass for the first goal, there are three situations we can bring on his bill.

On coaching quick counters...

How we do it is not too complicated; we have the players [with] not just the speed but the desire. Everybody knows Roberto is not as quick as Mo, but in the right moments he is there because he wants to be there with each part of his body, and Sadio as well of course. [We have] a few of these players. The style is most important – the first sprint was very important, the throw to Ox, that was very important, then the pass, the little miss and then we were all there. Of course we train it, it would be silly if we didn’t do it.

On whether Firmino and Salah are the best in the league...

I really think Aguero and Kane and a few others are really good players as well, 100 per cent. Our boys are important for us. What I love is – of course their skills and attitude – but the work-rate is outstanding. Both get the profit from the style of play, that’s for sure as well. We play in the areas where they like to have the ball and stuff like this. In this strong league you cannot be third without fantastic players and yes, they are two of them.

On Virgil van Dijk’s performance on his return to Southampton...

He did really well, he dealt with the situation fantastically. We had a little talk before the game and I asked, ‘What do you think?’ He said, ‘No, I’m fine boss’. I don’t want to make him nervous if he isn’t nervous and obviously he wasn’t and that’s good. I understand everything in football; the crowd is there to make life difficult for the opponent but I think it was not too difficult for him from this point of view and I’m happy about it.

On the fight to finish second...

We don’t hesitate, we take whatever we can get but it’s not that we make the final bill now. We didn’t know before the game that United would lose, but we know that we are not too far away. But it’s not a battle between them and us, we play against them one more time in this season at least. For us, 54 points, that’s important. What the other teams have, we have no influence on, so we need to win. We now have the Champions League, then we have West Ham at home, [which] is difficult. They probably have Arnautovic back, Lanzini back, and they are in a good run as well. That’s all exciting, all intense, we need all the points and for today I am really happy that we could take these very, very difficult-to-reach three.

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